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Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Legislation’

Evidence of Official Documents Online: A Problem?

Governments increasingly are putting official documents online without any paper ‘original’ or equivalent. Does that present challenges in practice for proving those documents?

What is your experience producing in court or generally under the evidence statutes official government documents that appear only online?

There is good statutory support for producing documents ‘printed’ by government, sometimes by class of document but sometimes as broad as ‘other public document’.

Will courts accept a printout of a web page (or, I suppose, a live in-court online presentation of a web page) showing a government URL as being ‘published by the Queen’s Printer’, at . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Non-Disparagement Clauses

California has just enacted a law that prohibits ‘non-disparagement clauses’. These are clauses in consumer contracts that prohibit the consumer from criticising the product or services provided under the contract.

Specifically, the statute says this: “a contract or proposed contract for the sale or lease of consumer goods or services may not include a provision waiving the consumer’s right to make any statement regarding the seller or lessor or its employees or agents, or concerning the goods or services.”

Is there any need for such a provision in Canadian law (federal or provincial)? Are non-disparagement clauses ever seen here? Would . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, ulc_ecomm_list

Ontario’s Proposed Provincial Retirement Plan and PRPP Legislation

Fewer than 35 percent of workers in Ontario currently have a workplace pension plan. Coverage for workers in the private sector is even lower—only 28 percent are members of a plan. Several studies have shown that, due to the limited benefits provided by the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS), significant numbers of Ontarians will not have sufficient savings to maintain similar living standards throughout their retirement years. As a result, the Ontario government has decided to establish a made-in-Ontario pension plan and to implement the federal government's Pooled Registered Pension Plan.
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Of Senate Vacancies and Canada’s Constitutional Galahads

On Parliament Hill there stands a statue depicting one of King Arthur’s knights, Sir Galahad. It was erected in honour of a heroic young civil servant who perished in the Ottawa River while trying to save a cabinet minister’s daughter who had fallen through weak ice. The tragic hero was Henry Albert Harper, and the statue of Sir Galahad, King Arthur’s most virtuous knight, was meant as a testament to Harper’s selfless heroism.

Speaking of Harper and paladins of another kind, 2014 might well go down as a banner year. The recent batch of Galahads on Parliament Hill kind of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Legislation

CASL Software Provisions Explained – Sort Of…

I’ve had some time to reflect on the CASL software provisions as interpreted by the CRTC . As I’ve said before, the CASL software consent provisions are tortuous and unclear, and if taken literally could cause huge problems for the software industry. The CRTC has tried to interpret them in a way that aligns with the intent of stopping people from installing malware on computers. While the CRTC interpretation may not line up with the act, we basically have to work within it for the time being. (Lawyers advising clients would be well served to include caveats that we . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

The Tone of Legislation

I am horribly embarrassed for my neighbours (in the broad sense) in the federal Yellowhead riding. CBC News reported:

Voter turnout in the federal by-election could near a historic low, with CBC estimating that fewer than one in five eligible voters making the trip to the polls.

A sad tone for democracy when less than one in five people feels engaged enough to vote in a federal by-election. This phenomenon isn’t new; the June 30, 2014 by-election for Macleod saw ~18% voter turnout. On the plus side, there were no lines at the polling station.

The tone for Provincial politics . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Ontario Consults on a Potential E-Signature Regulation for Real Estate

The Ontario government is consulting on whether to make a regulation under the Electronic Commerce Act to govern electronic signatures to be used on agreements of purchase and sale of real estate.

Draft Regulation

1. For the purpose of subsection 11(4) of the Act, the following class of documents is prescribed: agreements of purchase and sale of land in Ontario.

2. A legal requirement that a document of the prescribed class be signed is satisfied by an electronic signature only if the method of signature used:

a. Is reliable for the purpose of identifying the person who signs;

b. Ensures . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

CRTC Provides Guidance on CASL Software Provisions

The CRTC has just published their thoughts on the interpretation of section 8 of CASL that requires consents for certain types of software installations.

They also discussed them in an IT.Can webinar. Their interpretation is helpful, and addresses some of the uncertainty around the provisions. But some aspects are still unclear, and some of their interpretations may not be entirely supported by the wording of the act. That may be fine so long as the CRTC is enforcing it, but a court does not have to defer to CRTC interpretation. I suspect there will be further clarification coming at some . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

Ontario May Review Municipal Conflict of Interest Act

Ontario’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (MCIA) has played a central role in some of the legal disputes around some of our mayors.

The 2013 appeal of the conflict of interest case for Rob Ford illustrated some of the shortcomings of the MCIA. Prior to that, Justice Cunningham made recommendations over the MCIA in context of a judicial inquiry into Mississauga’s Hazel McCallion.

The Toronto Star reported this week that some much needed changes may be coming to the Act,

The ministry is reviewing the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, and is considering Justice Cunningham’s recommendations as well as stakeholder

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Premier Wynne Calls for Review of Sexual Harassment Rules in Ontario

In the wake of the allegations regarding Mr. Ghomeshi, Premier Wynne has called for a review of sexual harassment rules in Ontario. While employees of broadcasters like the CBC generally fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Canada Labour Code (and therefore Premier Wynne has limited power over the CBC), the situation has served as “lightning rod” for discussion – and probably one that is much needed. Before we discuss whether an overhaul is required, what’s the current state of the law? Currently, sexual harassment can be a criminal offence under the Criminal Code, an offence under . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Public Consultations

The law library team at my firm spends a good chunk of time monitoring legislation. It is our role to alert our colleagues, and in some cases our firm clients directly, with information about new legislation and changes to existing legislation. We like to be proactive so we also do our best to chase down “what is coming down the pipe”.

Rumours, innuendo, a couple of very good Alberta political watch newsletters and, increasingly, public consultations.

Public consultations are a way for government to ask before creating complex legislation that might be difficult to implement or enforce without significant voluntary . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation